Feb 22, 2010 7:37am
Re: Speaking of Ohio shows - Dayton 81
True, true... Here's my review for the Ohio Project.
11-30-81 - Hara Arena, Dayton, OH
1: Minglewood Blues, Mack the Knife filler, Bird Song> Little Red Rooster, They Love Each Other, Cassidy, Tennessee Jed, Let It Grow> Don't Ease Me In
2: Women Are Smarter, It Must Have Been the Roses, Estimated Prophet> Eyes of the World> Drums> The Other One> Wharf Rat> Sugar Magnolia, E: Might As Well
This was the second stop on the Dead’s first tour since the fall in Europe. This 5,000-seat arena in Dayton was still fairly intimate. A pretty good audience source on this one.
Rockin’ Minglewood is a pretty good way to start the Dead’s first show ever in Dayton, birthplace of the Wright brothers, Guided by Voices and lots of other greats. “Mack the Knife” is a little bit over-celebrated here -- pretty much just a one verse filler/tuning while they’re working out technical difficulties. But this is a pretty mean Bird Song. Jerry dials in and finds some room to really soar around that old arena. Good stuff. A great Rooster follows – this really was a good era for Lil Red Rooster. TLEO is fine, and after that they really start to cook. Cassidy and Jed are both very well played. Let it Grow is extraordinary – probably the best 80s Ohio track so far. And Don’t Ease is a nice little rocker to close it out.
Samson and IMHBTR work surprisingly well as the first two slots of set two. I actually think a Samson opener bodes well for the rest of the set. Estimated is good, but it’s Eyes that’s the real payoff here. This one doesn’t sound too terribly rushed or slow or anything – it’s just right in the groove. The back end is anchored by an exceptionally strong Wharf Rat, featuring some pretty heady jamming down the wire – a little rough around the edges, but Jerry is so amped up that it all works out. Sugar Mag is also played with vigor and elan. Great show all-around. Best Ohio show of ‘81 by far.
Highlights: Let it Grow, Eyes, Wharf, Sugar Mag